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Review – In the Land of No Right Angles by Daphne Beal


In the Land of No Right Angles
by Daphne Beal
276 pages
Published August 2008

In the Land of No Right Angles by Daphne Beal is not a book I would normally read. It’s kind of like a travelogue, and while I would like to do some traveling, Asia holds almost no interest for me. Maybe that’s because I haven’t been anywhere else (like France!), but I’m just not interested.

BUT! This book got a really good review in Publisher’s Weekly, and it was mentioned in the year end recap of Publisher’s Weekly. I’m sure you all know that when you read lots of books, for one to stand out amongst the crowd means it’s something special. I really couldn’t find anything negative about this book, so I went ahead and checked it out from my library.

In the Land of No Right Angles tells the story of Alex, an American girl who spends a year in Nepal when she’s just 20 years old. Eight months into that year, Alex’s friend, Will, an American who is living in Nepal, asks her to find a girl for him when she mentions that she’ll be trekking in the central hill region of Nepal. Alex agrees and sets out to find this girl.

When Alex finds this girl, Maya, living with her family in the country, Maya is very poor and just wants out. Anything is better than where she is now, so she quickly agrees to leave with Alex because Will has a job set up for her.

Alex quickly learns that trying to help someone out of poverty who has no education is difficult at best. Alex wanted to be Maya’s savior, but finds that not everything is under her control.

Having left Maya with Will after her visa expired, four years pass with minimal contact and finally Alex makes it so that she can return and see her friend. This time, though, Maya is living with a man who beats her. Alex once again does her best to help Maya, but finds that choices are limited for a country girl with no education.

Alex has a hard time watching Maya flounder and make decisions that Alex doesn’t think are the best. But Alex first went to Nepal very young, very naive, and very much an idealist. It takes Alex a long time to learn that Maya is responsible for her own life, and as much as Alex would like to *fix* Maya’s life, that’s not her job.

I really enjoyed this book. This is a quick read, but there’s a lot going on. I like the author’s spare prose. She deftly handles descriptions of Nepal, letting me *see* it without dense descriptions.

This would be an excellent book club pick. If you enjoy traveling, I’m sure you’d like this book as well. (Hi, Jill!) If you like interesting, dynamic characters, you’ll like this book.

Rating: 88 out of 100

Other reviews:

S. Krishna’s Books

| Tags: , , , , 16 comments »

16 Responses to “Review – In the Land of No Right Angles by Daphne Beal”

  1. Amy @ My Friend Amy

    You have no interest in Asia???? I find it endlessly fascinating. Looks like an interesting book!


  2. debnance

    Mmmm…interesting scoring system….How do you choose to give a book an 88 vs. an 89? Very specific, I think.


  3. bermudaonion

    I’ll have to put this one on my list because I love reading about Asia. I’m not sure why since I’ve never been there.


  4. Beth F

    Sounds like a good one. I have a friend who lived in Napal for almost a year. I bet she’d like this too. Thanks.


  5. Steph

    I’ve done quite a bit of traveling, but not really over in Asia, and definitely not Nepal. This sounds like it would be a great read for getting a sense of the place and its people. I’ll have to check it out. Great review!


  6. Biblibio

    I actually have a particularly soft spot for Asia and Nepal. I’ve been looking for books about the country for quite a while and have found very few. Good to know this book exists. I’ll make a point to seek it out.


  7. sarah pekkanen

    I was lucky enough to travel a bit in Asia, and the experience was amazing. One thing that really touched me was that whenever I was lost, people would approach me and offer to help me — rather than my having to ask the locals for help. This book sounds really good. Thanks for pointing it out.


  8. Diane

    I have this one on my shelf, so I was happy to read this review. Thanks


  9. S. Krishna

    I liked this book as well. Nice review!


  10. zibilee

    This book sounds a bit sad, but also thoughtful. I might try to get my book club interested in it. Thanks!


  11. Staci

    India is very intriguing to me and a country that I would like to visit someday. Thanks for the great review and bringing this book to my attention!!


  12. Michelle

    Seems like this is a great book about friendship. This sounds like a really good read. I am definately adding this to the TBR.


  13. softdrink

    Hmmmm…maybe. What’s up with the cover? It looks like there’s a quilt levitating in the middle of a field.


  14. debbie

    That does sound good. I think I would enjoy it since I like books set in different countries.


  15. Samantha

    This does sound interesting. I’ve never had the chance to travel outside of the United States but I think I would enjoy reading about it.


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